Family, Wednesday Stories

Finding Peace

I am so excited to share today’s Wednesday story. It’s hard to believe, but I have been blogging now for nine months. I felt called to do this. I felt drawn to seek out strong women on Instagram who were sharing their light and strength. I have been amazed by the strength I receive from these women who share their light.

Jackie is one of those women. She has gone through challenges of her own as you will read shortly, but with challenges, we receive knowledge and strength. And then it’s up to us to share what we know. Jackie has a podcast called Super Girls Podcast (http://supergirlspodcast.com/). She uplifts and strengthens teens by interviewing girls and mom’s who inspire. She’s a mom to three wonderful boys. I know you will be inspired as you read her story of peace, especially at Christmas time.

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“On November 5, 2002, my mom had surgery to replace a heart valve. A serious, but pretty routine surgery. Her doctor was confident that she would recover quickly. The surgery took a little longer than expected but overall went well. So, imagine our surprise when she went into cardiac arrest late that night and then passed away a couple of hours later.

I was 21 years old. I had only been married 2 months. Yes, I was so, so grateful that she was able to come to my wedding but I still kept thinking of all the other things I would never be able to share with her and felt cheated! I had 2 younger brothers, one was just a few weeks away from leaving to serve a mission for our church. The other was only 16 years old. And my dad- what was he going to do? At the time I’m pretty sure the only thing he could cook were omelets. Totally not fair. We needed our mom!

During this time I learned so much about love, Christlike service and true friendship. I will never forget leaving the hospital and going to my childhood home late that night with my dad, brothers and husband. I couldn’t imagine going back there and not having my mom waiting for me. I knew the house would feel so cold and empty. When we got there though, instead of finding a dark and lonely house we found two of my mom’s friends waiting for us with dinner, a hug and a listening ear.

Over the next several days and weeks so many friends called or stopped by to see me. Every single one of them told me they didn’t know what to say but then they sat and cried with me and that was exactly what I needed at the time. Later, when I wanted to talk about my mom and share memories those same friends were there to listen and share their memories too.

It was the little things that people did that meant the most. Just being there. Not letting the fear of not knowing what to say keep them from reaching out. Knowing that they cared. I’m so grateful that not knowing what to do or say didn’t keep them from reaching out. I needed to know they cared!

I still have a nativity given to me by some of my mom’s dear friends. They all loved to make crafts and were planning a craft night for a few weeks after her surgery. They were going to paint nativities. Even though she wasn’t there, her friends still painted one for her and gave it to me. Every Christmas when I get it out I’m reminded of not only the love and peace of my Savior that we all are reminded of at Christmas time, but also reminded of my mom’s love and dear friends who wanted to ease my pain.

As the years have gone by I really feel like I’m doing okay for the most part but there are times I still feel cheated. When I see moms and daughters doing things together I feel so left out. It breaks my heart that my kids don’t know her. She would have adored them and been such a great grandma! And some days, I just really want to talk to her.

However, in the April 2017 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I was listening to a talk by Elder Yoon Hwan Choi. He shared a story about his son being given the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall. Because Elder Choi and his wife were serving a mission at the time they couldn’t go listen to their son. Feeling sad that they couldn’t go be a part of this big moment in their son’s life they prayed and his wife told Heavenly Father such. Elder Choi then said, “As soon as she finished this prayer, she heard a clear voice: ‘Because you cannot go, your son has been given this privilege. Would you rather trade?'” When I heard this story, instantly, pouring into my mind came the realization of all the blessings Heavenly Father has given me because I can’t have my mom on earth with me at this time. And you know what? When put that way, I wouldn’t trade.

I will always miss my mom, I will always wish my kids knew her. Everyday there are things I want to tell her but I no longer feel quite as cheated as before. I will always be grateful for good friends who will cry with me, for my family who loves me unconditionally, for everything my mom taught me and all the memories I have with her, and most importantly and for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, know me. Because of this I have found peace.”

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Honestly I can’t even imagine losing my mom, and especially right before Christmas. I love how Jackie was able to draw strength from friends, family and our Savior. If you are missing a loved one, especially at this time of year, I hope that you too will be able to draw strength from the Savior of the world. For He knows our sorrows. And because he knows our sorrows, He knows how to send us comfort. Sometimes the trick is letting ourselves see the blessings and comfort he sends.

I’m so thankful to Jackie sharing such a tender part of her life with us this week. I hope this week that as we look around us, that we can be like those friends and family who were present and ready to offer support to Jackie’s family.

If you have a teen girl, I really think they would LOVE Jackie’s podcasts! And I love them as a mom too! Mom’s need to know how to strengthen their teen girls too! So take a few minutes and download her podcast today. You’ll be glad you did!

Jackie’s goal with her podcast is to strengthen teen girls. To help them know they are not alone as they face challenges, and to see that they are a powerful force for good.

I hope that this season will be a very Merry Christmas for you and your family. Let’s strengthen one another so that we can Light the World.

Life is Good. Share the Good.

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